Through the Fall we’ve become like God: we “know good and evil.” (Ge 3:22a) Since God doesn’t do evil, this can’t simply mean we know what it’s like to do good and evil, and since God sees this as a bad thing (Ge 3:24) it can’t mean we’ve experienced good and evil in others. It must mean that we, as if we’re God, presume the right to define good and evil for ourselves, that we claim to know what good and evil are apart from Him, that we know better than He does.
We’re constantly making moral judgments based on how we feel, without consulting God, just making it up as we go. And we instinctively respond to the moral evaluations of other mortals as if they’re divine. This is so natural we seldom even notice we’re doing it; it’s born into our nature, as natural as breathing, and it’s why we’re so wicked. Most all the evil and suffering in our world is from us doing what’s right in our own eyes.
Moral definitions are God’s business and He’s revealed them in His Law. Breaking His Law is His definition of evil (1Jn 3:4); any other definition is profound arrogance and presumption — it’s essentially climbing up into God’s throne and pushing Him off. There really isn’t a more offensive thing we can possibly do to Him; it’s Satan’s way.
We should make it our top priority to study God’s Laws and ask Him to conform our hearts and minds to His standards and ways, hiding them in our heart so that we don’t sin against Him. (Ps 119:11) Let’s worship in truth and walk in the light, unintimidated when others make up their own moral laws. When we find ourselves making instinctive moral judgments, or reacting to those of others, let’s get in the habit of checking with God and dismissing the rest.
One thought on “Knowing Good and Evil”
Key quotes from Rules For Radicals, by Saul Alinsky.
“Even the most elementary grasp of the fundamental idea that one communicates within the experience of his audience—and gives full respect to the other’s values—would have ruled out attacks on the American flag. The responsible organizer would have known that it is the establishment that has betrayed the flag while the flag, itself, remains the glorious symbol of America’s hopes and aspirations, and he would have conveyed this message to his audience.”
“A final word on our system. The democratic ideal springs from the ideas of liberty, equality, majority rule through free elections, protection of the rights of minorities, and freedom to subscribe to multiple loyalties in matters of religion, economics, and politics rather than to a total loyalty to the state. The spirit of democracy is the idea of importance and worth in the individual, and faith in the kind of world where the individual can achieve as much of his potential as possible.”
“In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace, cooperation, equal and full opportunities for education, full and useful employment, health, and the creation of those circumstances in which man can have the chance to live by values that give meaning to life.”
“An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma. To begin with, he does not have a fixed truth—truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing. He is a political relativist. He accepts the late Justice Learned Hand’s statement that “the mark of a free man is that evergnawing inner uncertainty as to whether or not he is right.””
I was both entertained, challenged, and saddened by Mr. Alinsky. In the end, I was tempted to feel sorry for him; a man with intense moral passion who has rejected all moral codes. A man of flaming ideals who shuns all ideals. A man of principle, which he makes up as he goes, while claiming there are no principles.
Alinsky is hopelessly self-contradictory. He holds up self-doubt as a virtue with undying self-confidence. He only has one simple, self-contradictory “truth”: the basic goodness of (powerless) Man, and the basic badness of (powerful) Man.
Alinksy believes he is at war with humanity for humanity’s sake, to help people without power take it from those who have power, until there is an exchange of power, and then Alinsky will switch sides. So he is at war, always, and in this eternal war the ends justify the means: ANY ends to achieve his goal are acceptable. So he thinks he has infinite purpose and meaning without needing to be accountabile to anything or anyone.
Alinsky’s fuel for destroying society is the very Moral Law which holds it together, which he ignores in his methodology. He knows intrinsically that the rich and powerful should help the poor, and he resents that they won’t, and never will on their own. So he has found a way to channel his hatred for morality, God and humanity itself, and also to avoid the shame of his moral emptiness, even how to feel morally superior as he goes. His goals to help the poor are good, his means are not, and he’s perfectly fine with that, because it works, and he enjoys doing it.
This is the problem with Alinsky: he is right in his objectives and wrong in his means. But his means work extremely well and they are fun, and the inherent rightness of his goals fuels him with the undying hope of eventually finding purpose and meaning if he will just keep on living this way. In trying to take the best of both worlds, he comes away with nothing, because he is a man of principle without principles: he has nothing worth having. If you happen to have anything worth having, or the claim of any principle at all, you cannot stop Alinsky from fighting with you because he believes this is his glorious purpose, to fight with those in power, and it’s what he likes to do. This is all he has: nothing, and he is resolved to keep it. His only satisfaction is in you having nothing as well.
Thus, Alinsky embodies the inevitable state of bewildering self-contradiction present in those who passionately and fervently believe all morality is relative, except theirs, which they will not codify, because they can’t, because it doesn’t exist. These hopeless, empty souls absolutely deny any absolutes, and find all moral codes immoral. Yet they are helpless to live as they believe, without morality, so they boil over with hatred and racism in their quest to end hatred and racism; they bully and oppress others to eradicate bullying and oppression; they fight unjustly for justice, strive unfairly for fairness, and silence others to ensure free speech. These are they who lie, cheat and steal to end corruption, who promote Judeo-Christian ethics and values through the tactics of Lucifer himself, its arch-enemy. These are our hopeless fellow citizens, desperately searching for meaning in a post-Christian culture, as they deny anything that could possibly provide them meaning. They are to be pitied, not feared … loved, not reasoned with.
I think I now understand the Left a good bit better: having abandoned any moral code, they really do just make it up as they go, presuming they are always right by definition. You cannot prove them wrong because “wrong” to them has nothing to do with proof, reason, logic, or any static moral code. They are moral beings who have abandoned morality, yet who cannot bear the shame of their moral destitution, so they presume by definition they cannot possibly be wrong … about anything really important, because it’s simply too painful. To them “right and wrong” has become merely your tactic to control and destabilize them, because it is their tactic to try to control and destabilize you. Admitting to being wrong would be their freedom, but these delusionals are convinced they would lose all if they did. To them, admitting error is to give up, to stop fighting, to concede defeat, to make whores of their own souls, to relinquish the only shred of dignity and meaning they can possibly find in life, that of destroying those who have something, anything to protect. It is the epitome of insanity.
We cannot reason with someone who has abandoned reason. If we have anything worth having, we’re Alinsky’s enemies and he wants to take it from us. If we have wealth he wants to rob us; if we have stability, he wants to destabilize us, if we have any comfort, he wants to make us uncomfortable — of course, all for the general welfare and the common good. He sees no need to defend himself because he has nothing to defend except his love for the fight itself. This is what he lives for, feeling his high calling and purpose in attacking those who are comfortable, balanced, and content. He enjoys destroying, and does it with conviction since he’s presumed it’s for humanity’s sake. He thus serves the Destroyer, and is totally self-deceived.
The allegory of trying to play chess with a pigeon comes to mind and fits perfectly: Alinsky struts around crapping on the board, knocking over the pieces, and claiming victory. In his view, he wins every time, in every conflict, because he makes up the rules as he goes, and trying to make a mess is his definition of winning. Those who value stability will give him what he wants in order to keep it, if he makes life painful enough for them. He thus achieves his moral ends, justifies himself, and moves on to his next victim.
Lacking the moral tools to build up society, Alinsky can only find meaning in tearing it apart, and he simply refuses to live without meaning. In the end, I think Alinsky did not really believe in what he was doing, he could not actually believe in anything — he simply enjoyed the fight: a man driven by the needs of others, who lived only for himself. He has received his reward, as will we all.
The radical Left love Alinsky because it gives them what he had: purpose without accountability. They will attack because it’s fun and gives them the only sense of purpose they can find. Let them; we cannot stop them, and we should not try to. God may have given us these kinds of enemies to help us learn to love, especially the poor, and especially our enemies. This may be the only way to stop their attack: join them in their cause of helping the poor. Not such a bad thing, not so bad at all.
Let us learn to hold up the goodness of God and the badness of Man without shame, and to measure every moral act by the moral code of God Himself, Torah, and no other. When the radical left attacks us, let us remember that it isn’t personal: attacking us is all they have left in this world; they can have nothing worth having by definition, and so they will inevitably resent those of us who claim to have anything at all.
In the end, let us join them in helping the poor, working alongside them, for this is morally good, but let us not consent to their moral destitution. Let us not argue with them, for they are not seeking truth. Let us pray for them and do them good, that the pain of their emptiness may itself drive them to seek what we claim to have, which is the only thing really worth having, which can never be taken away from us so long as we desire it: Absolute Truth.
I am convinced, now that I have read Alinsky, that the Left in political office, like the Clintons and Obamas, do not admire him, nor do they share in his ultimate goal: they do not want to give political power to the masses like he did; they have merely learned that his methods enable them to take political power for themselves, and how to leverage the radical left to obtain it.